perfect Christmas card photo tips
All photos by Andi Watkins

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas around the corner, we start to dwell on those dreaded family photos that we have to take in order to send out Christmas cards. The act of sending and receiving holiday cards is a favorite tradition to most, but it can also add more stress to the holidays.

The goal is to simply capture a memory that endures, but how do we pick the best Christmas card photo? What should we wear? I sat down with Andi Watkins, a local photographer in St. George, who gave me some tips on how to get that perfect Christmas card photo.

perfect Christmas card photo tipsPlan ahead

Do: When preparing for your family photo session, make sure everyone is well-rested and has eaten a good meal before the shoot. Bring snacks if you have small children so they don’t get restless and hungry. Bring water with you so you don’t get thirsty. Women wearing heels should always bring an extra pair of shoes that slip on and off easily just in case they are walking through the desert or on rocks.

Don’t: Don’t bring snacks that will stain the children’s clothing. Don’t forget your extra pair of shoes.

What to wear

perfect Christmas card photo tipsDo: Make sure to coordinate your family’s clothing so that the outfits complement each other. Choose colors that work well together. Prints and patterns should be used sparingly. Textures and layers — like lace, corduroy, and even fur — photograph well. If you want to add visual interest to your photos, you can accessorize with hats, scarves, and boots.

Don’t: Don’t wear matching outfits (like everyone in khakis and white shirts). When everyone is in the same outfit, it can make the picture seem dull and lifeless. You want to avoid any type of logo on your clothes. Logos tend to distract and take away from your families smiles.

perfect Christmas card photo tipsHair

Do: Plan on getting color and haircuts done a week before the photo shoot. That way, if anything goes wrong, you have time to fix it, but it will still look fresh in your photo. Hair always looks flatter behind the lens, so amp up the volume by starting your curls at the root of the hair instead of in the middle of the shaft. You can also add clip-in extensions to make your hair look thicker and add more volume.

Don’t: Don’t use a tough hair spray if you are doing photos outside. If the wind picks up, you will want a hairstyle that can move around and not get ruined. Don’t be afraid to use a shine serum in your hair. Adding a little shine to your locks will make them look beautiful in photos.


perfect Christmas card photo tipsDo: Make sure to apply your blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara 25 to 30 percent more heavily than you normally would. You want your features to be defined, and outdoor and studio lighting can take the depth out of your makeup. Lines will look twice as harsh in photos, so make sure to blend your makeup evenly. Make sure to wear some color on your lips. The nude lip is on the trend right now, but in photos you will look lipless. Always set your makeup with a translucent powder so you don’t look shiny in the photo.

Don’t: Don’t use any foundations with SPF. SPF can cause you to look washed-out in your photo. Avoid SPF in your foundation primer and foundation. Avoid shimmer eye shadows and illuminators. The shimmer can tend to look reflective in a photo.

perfect Christmas card photo tipsLocations

Do: Southern Utah has so many great locations that are beautiful to photograph. Snow Canyon has the contrast of lava rocks and red rocks, Red Cliffs Campground is beautiful, and Tonaquint Nature Center is amazing. But if you have a special place like a family farm or ranch, that can also make your Christmas card special and meaningful. Choose a place that suites your personal style.

Don’t: Don’t choose a background that is too busy. You want to stand out, so don’t have anything too distracting.

If you follow these basic guidelines, you’re bound to nab that perfect Christmas card photo! When taking those family photos, remember to relax, have fun, and smile your best. Whether you are putting multiple pictures on your Christmas card or just one photo, remember to choose the one that captures the essence of your family.

Find Andi Watkins Photography on her website, Facebook or Instagram, or call (435) 313-8949.